China Economy More Resilient In 2023, Says Xi Jinping In New Year Speech

China's Economy 'More Resilient' In 2023: Xi Jinping In New Year Speech

Xi Jinping said China would never rule out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control. (File)

Beijing, China:

President Xi Jinping said Sunday the Chinese economy had grown “more resilient and dynamic” in 2023, despite financial figures continuing to disappoint as the post-Covid recovery stalls.

He also promised in a bullish New Year’s address to the nation that China would “surely be reunified” — a reference to the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own and has pledged to seize.

Xi has endured a challenging 2023 at the helm of the world’s second-largest economy, with his administration struggling to sustain an economic rebound since rapidly dumping its onerous zero-Covid policy a year ago.

But Xi said on state broadcaster CCTV the economy had “weathered the storm” and become “more resilient and dynamic than before”, hailing the promotion of “high-quality development” and emerging industries such as electric vehicles, lithium batteries and solar panels.

He said next year “we must… consolidate and enhance the positive trend of economic recovery, and achieve long-term economic stability”.

Yet he also acknowledged some hardship, saying “some companies are facing operating pressure (and) some people are encountering difficulties in employment and living conditions”.

“All of these things concern me greatly,” he said.

“Our goal is both ambitious and yet very simple. In the end, it is to help people live better lives.”

Record youth unemployment and a persistent debt crisis in the crucial property sector have hemmed in China’s growth this year.

Official figures released on Sunday showed a decline in nationwide factory activity deepened in December, the third straight month of contraction.

Analysts have said Beijing may struggle to achieve its stated annual growth target of around five percent, the lowest such ambition in years.

‘Reunification’¬†

Xi briefly mentioned Taiwan, weeks before the democratic island heads to the polls on January 13.

Beijing has escalated its pressure campaign against Taiwan this year and tensions are high, with independence-leaning candidate Lai Ching-te leading opinion polls.

Xi declared in his Sunday speech “the motherland will surely be reunified”.

“Compatriots on both sides of the (Taiwan) Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose to share in the glory of national rejuvenation,” he said.

Xi has said China would never rule out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taipei officials have repeatedly raised concerns about election interference and misinformation, claims dismissed by Beijing as “hype”.

Greetings to Putin 

Xi sent new year greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier Sunday in which he hailed strengthening ties with Moscow in 2023, according to an official foreign ministry readout.

The two longtime allies have drawn closer in recent years even as Western countries have turned their backs on Russia over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Xi said “the material and public opinion foundation of our relationship has become stronger”, according to CCTV.

“In the face of changes unseen in a century and a turbulent regional and international situation, China-Russia relations have maintained healthy and stable development and moved steadily in the right direction,” Xi said.

“Under our joint leadership, political mutual trust between the two sides has further deepened, strategic coordination has drawn closer, and mutually beneficial cooperation has continued to achieve new results,” he was quoted as saying.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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